By Prince Golez
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is hoping that the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Cooperative Partnership for Agricultural Machinery between the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Korea Agricultural Machinery Industry Cooperative (KAMICO) would lead to much improved agricultural productivity and food security in the country.
At the signing ceremony in Malacañang, Marcos Jr. stressed the importance of mechanization to agricultural production as it has been the thrust of his government to boost food production.
“We all recognized very clearly the importance of mechanization for our country because we are trying to move the production, we are trying to make sure that at least the local supply for rice is sufficient and, of course, hopefully, also the other crops,” the President said Tuesday.
“The key to all of this is mechanization and all of the things that we’re trying to do. We have some programs to mechanize. We have the RCEF program, in which the collections from the tariffs on rice importations are then applied also to mechanize,” he added.
The first step toward agricultural development, according to Marcos Jr., is to establish local machinery production, which will result in higher yields and lower production costs for Filipino farmers.
Among the salient features of the MOU include the establishment of a local agricultural machinery manufacturing cluster including assembly production line, research and development of agricultural machinery technology, workforce training on agricultural machinery technology, and a grant of official development assistance to further explore potential projects.
A KAMICO official said the first phase of the project will cost $30 million, with the second phase costing three times as much.
The project is expected to result in food production self-sufficiency; the Philippines becoming a food-exporting country; increased employment and farmers’ income; establishment of infrastructure on agricultural mechanization and industrialization; and technology transfer and production of specialized machinery.
The DA has been working with KAMICO for some time.
Among their completed projects are adaptability testing of a self-propelled Mechanical Elevating Work Platform for mango production operations, and technology performance verification and adaptation of a mechanized onion production system.
Ongoing projects include pilot adoption and pre-commercialization of the Philippine Center for Post-harvest Development and Mechanization-KAMICO developed corn mill; technology advice and solutions from South Korea; Agricultural Mechanization Design and Prototyping Center project.
KAMICO, which was founded in 1962 and is recognized by the Korean government, has over 650 members and is a major player in the mechanization of Korea’s agricultural sector.
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